Julie Plec teases The Originals season four villain

The Originals is taking a cue from a horror master for its fourth season. Creator Julie Plec told The Hollywood Reporter that the Vampire Diaries spin-off will draw from Stephen King novels to "introduce this really dark presence that is controlling the supernatural community of New Orleans."

Season four kicks off five years after the fall of the Mikaelsons and features Marcel on a power trip, keeping Klaus locked up as he invites all of the un-sired vamps to New Orleans, only to realize that they pose a threat to his rule. Also in the mix is Klaus' now 7-year-old daughter Hope, who is dealing with magic that she can't control. On top of all of that is the season's Big Bad, a presence that "is not seen and is targeting children and is targeting innocents and is really just vile."

"There is a very insidious and dark element that exists in the alleys and the gutters of New Orleans that has point of view about what it wants out of New Orleans and it is in deep conflict with the health and protection of the original family and Hope Mikaelson herself," Plec teased, adding that they wanted to put the family "to its greatest test" this season. Plec said that the season will be "darker than what we've done in the past" and will bring in "traditional horror elements," some of which were inspired by King's novels. However, she also promises that the show will keep with its roots of exploring family dynamics, adding that, "It's that tone that creeps along and it's got a layer of evil hovering over it all season long."

The Originals, which will take over The Vampire Diaries' Friday night time slot following the series finale last week, will see some returning favorites this season, including Matt Davis' Alaric Saltzman, who will show up in New Orleans with "some valuable information and also a suggestion for the future." While Plec has said that she would like Candice King's Caroline to appear on The Originals as well, she says it won't happen this season; however, she did tease that, following the reveal of Leah Pipes' Cami's return in the trailer, there will "definitely" be a few other deceased characters who pop up before the season is over.

The Originals returns for season four on March 17 at 8 p.m. on The CW. In the meantime, see other TV shows that, like The Vampire Diaries, ignored the books they were based on.